One More Ride: Chapter 2: Two Tragedies

Chapter One

Norville just stood there in the kitchen, angry. Angry at Fred for his alcoholism, for his philandery, for his temper, for his stupid remarks. But mostly angry at himself. Why had he let stupid Fred stupid get to him? Stupid.

Then he remembered the anniversary. He sat down in his chair to finish his coffee and drown his misery. He could feel one of his glooms coming on. They usually started with something small—burnt toast or a dinged door—then magnified into an uncontrollable black that would take hours or days to shake. They used to be a lot harder to manage. Now he just tried to ride them out and avoid making any major decisions that he would regret while ‘on the gloom.’

He sat drinking his coffee, then the rest of the pot. After he finished the pot he still needed more Dunks, but he had used the rest for their dinner. He picked up Fred’s mug wondering how cold it was. Very.

Nevermind. I’ll just go to bed, he thought. I’ll just go get my phone just in case anyone needs me and then get in bed. Where’s my phone? In the car. Of course. It might as well be on The Titanic. The car is all the way out in the freakin’ garage. He started to just shuffle his way up the stairs to his bedroom. Fine. Whatever. I’ll get the phone. Stupid conscience.

He walked onto the cold concrete of the garage floor and around to the driver’s side. Why had he left the garage door up? He couldn’t remember doing it, though he did do it sometimes. But usually there was some purpose—changing the oil, sweeping the garage out, getting out the gardening tools. But today? The attempt to remember was making his head hurt. He produced his keys and unlocked the car. The door clicker had given out three years ago but he still hadn’t gotten it fixed.

Norville reached his lanky arm in to retrieve the phone. His fingers touched it just enough to knock it loose from the cup holder and it slid under the seat. I should have gone to bed, he thought. Stupid phone.

He climbed into the car, put his key in the ignition and started the car. Why did I do that, he thought. Force of habit I guess. He reached down below the seat to retrieve the phone and as he did so he saw the package on the dash. He closed his eyes, the tightness drained from his shoulders. The anniversary. That’s why he had left the garage door open. He was already in the car. No point going back to bed now.

He checked the phone for messages then put it back in its cup holder, buckled his seat belt, locked the door, pulled out of the garage, and hit the remote garage door closer. Do I have everything, he asked himself. Wallet, phone, keys, package. That seemed like everything, but he couldn’t shake the feeling he was missing something as he pulled down the driveway.

Probably just the gloom. Stupid gloom.

And that’s how Norville Rogers left home in late October without a jacket.

Chapter 3

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